2nd Excerpt From My Book

I got nothing this week. Except anger, pain, and horribly dark thoughts. However, I will not have a meltdown in the blogosphere that I did a month or so ago. I thought about skipping this week and not making a post. Instead I will share a second excerpt of the book I am writing. For the other update I posted from Chapter 3, you can find it here: https://davidegeorge.wordpress.com/2016/07/23/448/.

In this part from Chapter 5, the main character, James, is in the middle of telling one of the stories of his war experiences to the psychologist during his stay in the psych ward at the hospital. I am slowly, but surely working on my book. I have added some content since the last excerpt, but mostly have cleaned up and re-written much of the first five chapters. I would like to finish by the end of October. We’ll see if that happens. I hope you enjoy the small part of the book here. All feedback welcome. Thank you for reading. Good day, God bless.

Dave


One day when James was by himself in the office the warning sirens sounded as the first explosion shook the small building. James calmly, but with purpose, grabbed his gear. James could tell from experience that this blast wasn’t dangerously close, but close enough to get his attention. This was nothing new to him. He had been there for four months at the time and had probably heard over 200 explosions that originated from somewhere in the mountains. James and the others had become pretty good at approximating how far away the blasts were by the sound it produced and the shaking of the building. Most of the time the enemy was aiming for the airstrip, which was fairly close to their office, but far enough away that if the first blast didn’t get the small building, anything that followed would generally be getting farther away.

Before James could exit the building to take refuge in a nearby concrete bunker, the second explosion hit surprisingly close. This one shook the building with more force, causing books and DVDs on shelves to fall to the floor. James ran out the door with his weapon and protective gear and got in the bunker. He sat in the dirt and leaned up against the wall listening to the sirens and voices over the broadcast system. Looking back and forth out both sides of the bunker James noticed there was no one else around him. He was alone in the bunker. He wondered where his two office mates were and where on the base the last rocket fell. James knew it had definitely landed somewhere close, closer to him than any previous blast had landed.

The third explosion felt like it was right on top of him. It crossed his mind that he might become a statistic, a number on the list of those that never made it home. But then it occurred to him, he would still go home, just zipped up in a bag instead, that is, if they could find all the pieces. James knew the enemy was ‘walking them in.’ They would fire a rocket, mark where it lands, make adjustments, and fire again getting closer to the intended target. Based on the sounds of the first three explosions, James believed in his mind that if they got off a fourth rocket, it would land right on top of him. James waited alone in the bunker with only his thoughts. The noise from the broadcast system, still blaring the warnings as loud as it could, faded in his mind. He could only hear his heart beating and a couple voices in his head. He thought about his brother Bobby grilling him a few years ago about why anyone would want to join the military knowing they would go to war and possible get killed. This thought presented quite a quandary to him. James thought that maybe Bobby was right, but if James died Bobby wouldn’t be able to tell him, “Told you so,” like he always did when they were kids. James smiled a little at this catch-22 of a situation he found himself in. Then he thought of Donna and the possibility of never seeing her again. His smile quickly faded.

There was not to be a fourth explosion on that day. The sirens eventually stopped and were immediately replaced with a loud voice telling the base personnel what areas were now safe to resume movement. Sectors two and three were to stay put, but the area James was in was cleared by the big voice and those in that area could return to normal duty. He wondered where his co-workers were and hoped they were safe. James walked out of the bunker and headed back to the small building he had evacuated a short time ago. Though it felt like hours stuck in the bunker, in reality it was only about twenty-five minutes. He didn’t notice any damage to the outside of the building as he surveyed the area before entering, but saw the mess of books and DVDs that littered the floor inside from the shaking of the building. James sat back down at the main desk, picked up the phone to see if it worked, and logged on to the computer. He would give the other guys a few minutes to get back before he checked in for accountability with the unit. It was Sergeant Jacobs’ job anyway, but if he didn’t come back it would become James’ responsibility. James did not that responsibility, not this way. Miller came bursting through the door after a moment, startling James.

dscn3353

dscn3985

 

Advertisements

My 9/11 Three Years Ago

There will be no shortage this week of reflections about 9/11. People will share where they were when it happened, what they were doing, who they were with, and how they felt. On September, 11 2001, America changed. The world changed. I changed. The events of 9/11 brought me back in to military service, as it did for many who had previously served. There were also many young bucks that signed up to do their patriotic duty as well. Many of us that answered the call were in uniform, sometimes far from home, during 9/11 remembrances that would follow in the years after the original attacks on that date. I think I have been away from home 4 or 5 times on a 9/11, twice serving out of the country.

Below is a post that I originally wrote and shared three years ago while in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was an amazing sight to behold. I have some video of that night, of the tracers flying across the sky overhead, the commotion in the streets just outside the barrier walls of our compound, the noises, the lights, and the people around me at the time. I won’t share those videos here. But in one video of all the crazy commotion, you can hear me and another Soldier talking calmly the whole time, debating why leadership was going to move our smoking area from where it was to somewhere else. We were having a normal conversation while bullets flew over our heads across the night sky. Neither one of us were very concerned about our surroundings. All the chaos that Afghanistan had to offer became normal for there, at that time, in that place. It wasn’t until later, when it was time to transition to a new normal, that didn’t include war, that I found a challenge like nothing else I had ever faced. I’m still dealing with that challenge. I miss the chaos. And still don’t know what my new normal is.

Enjoy the post that I originally wrote and posted on 9/11/2013. Good day. God bless.

Dave

 

9/11 in Kabul

for original post: https://davidegeorge.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/911-in-kabul-afghanistan/

Twelve years ago today America changed. We weren’t looking to change, we didn’t necessarily want to change, but it’s a change we were forced to go through. We will never be the same again. I’ve followed all the posts today on Facebook in my news feed about all the remembrances, the pictures, the support for both the victims of the attack and the Service Members still fighting a war that’s supposed to be winding down.

As 9/11 approached, we double checked ourselves, made sure everything was good, and stayed vigilant. No worries. We’ve been doing this for a long time. But I think what happened today caught everyone off guard. No one saw this coming.

As I came out the door of the building to throw a box in the dumpster I could hear the commotion on the streets outside the walls of our compound. It was after dark. I could hear people yelling, horns blowing, and noises that sounded an awful lot like gunfire. I could see flashes of light in the air. I noticed that everyone outside was calm. Looking to the sky, but calm. Why wasn’t anyone taking cover? We are in a war zone after all and I know for sure that is gunfire I hear. After my trip to the dumpster, I walked to the gazebos where the daily gossip and b.s. stories could be heard for the day. That’s where I found out what was happening.

The Afghanistan soccer team beat India to win its first ever international trophy in soccer. The people were celebrating. Since I don’t follow soccer, I’m not sure, but I think this puts them in the competition for the World Cup. The Afghans have something to cheer about. And they were cheering. Fireworks and real gunfire. Hollering in the streets, horns honking. I could only picture it from where I was. I sat at the gazebos for about an hour listening to the people on the other side of the walls. I watch tracers fly over the camp and could hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the machine guns. Don’t these guys know those rounds have to come down somewhere? I saw one of the Afghanistan interpreters sitting out there. She was smiling, taking it all in. I could see the APPF (Afghan People’s Protection Force) guards at the gate. They were happy, shaking hands with some of the Afghan workers from our compound that walked by on their way to their quarters for the night.

Afghanistan is a nation that has been torn apart for the better part of 34 years by war and government unrest, Soviet occupation, Taliban choke hold, corrupt politics, and more. And for many years before that this country has dealt with tribal and ethnic divisions as well as religious unrest. The Afghanistan soccer team has brought some unity and happiness to this otherwise dismal place to be. The people here have a reason to stick their chest out, something to be proud of. I am truly happy for them. I hope they win again. Maybe with less gunfire next time, though.

I heard a sports announcer say one time, “Winning changes everything.” I don’t believe that to be true in the broad perspective of life. Tomorrow will be the same as yesterday, only today was different. But I do know that here, for today, winning a soccer game meant the world to a nation. And I’m glad I was here for it.

Good day and God bless.

Dave

Write Your Own Story

Almost every day last school year, and so far this one, I have seen the same elderly couple walking when I drop my kids off at their respective schools. They seem to be in their early to mid-70’s, happily taking their morning walk which I imagine is part of a daily routine for them. They start at their apartment and walk about a mile down the road to a convenience store, or perhaps the grocery store I’m not sure, for morning coffee. They always have a coffee cup when I see them on the way back. Sometimes they have a plastic grocery bag on the way back from their trip to whichever place it is that they go. Some days they have an umbrella that woman uses when it rains. The man walks the same, rain or shine. He doesn’t seem to care if he gets wet.

The elderly couple and I wave to each other, sometimes as many as three times each morning as I drive back and forth to my kids’ schools (4 kids, two different schools, at three different times every morning). I have never met the elderly couple, never stopped to exchange pleasantries. We have never actually spoken to each other. I will not likely stop to meet them, I think that would be weird. But I almost feel like I know them as many times as we have acknowledged each other in passing at 20 miles per hour. And since I don’t really know them, I have written their story in my own mind.

I have imagined what their names are, how they met, what they did for a living, how many children they had, grandchildren, places they have been, all kinds of things. Basically, I have made up the whole story of their life without even meeting the elderly couple, as I picture their story. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? It is almost like people watching, but to an extreme I guess. We have all sat at a mall, or airport, or the beach and watched people and imagined what they are like or what kind of life they live without even talking to them. Not just those places, but we also probably come up with a quick story in our minds for the guy on the corner holding a sign about being homeless. Or the jackass with Georgia plates on his car that does not know how to use his blinker. Or the recluse neighbor that never speaks to you.

It might seem silly to take the time to make up all those stories about people we do not know and have never spoken too. I have no idea why we do this. I know I’m not the only one that does this. And if we are completely honest, we make up a person’s back-story even if we do know them. Maybe we don’t know them very well or it’s a person we only see in passing at work or school and do not have the time to get to know them. I am certain people have come up with a story about me the same way I have for the elderly couple. Even some people that do know me have their own version of a story of me and my life and my decisions. But that’s ok. If they don’t know my whole story, they can make one up. I wonder if the elderly couple has a story for me. I wonder what it’s about. I wonder if it is a good story or if it’s more like, “Crap, here comes that guy again that waves at us every day, just wave and smile.”

They don’t know my story and I don’t know theirs. But I am telling mine to whomever wants to know it, right here every week. This marks 30 weeks in a row, after a two year break, that I have made a blog entry telling my story. My story the way I see it. The way I live it. My weekly posts have become my best therapy. Most of my entries has been real life events. A couple of times I posted some fiction that I’ve written. I have put a couple poems out there. But all of it, in some way, shape, or form, is part of my story. Part of my life. I am writing my story. I tried to write the ending once; but apparently my story was not over at the time.

We all have a story. Actually, we all have thousands of stories that make up a greater story. Who knows your story? Your real story? Tell it yourself so not as many people have to make one up for you. Thank you for looking at my story. Thank you for being part of the Story of My Life. Good day, God bless.

Dave